In China, Hong Kong on 19 March 2013 at 8:26 AM
Before Xi Jinping’s speech, Hong Kongers used to poke fun at CY Leung.
I know it’s a country western song. And if I cared enough I’d Google to see who sang it. But I can hear the twangy tones without much imagination. “Stand by your man!” It’s so bad it’s good.
Sans guitar, China’s new President Xi Jinping implored the same of everyone in Hong Kong. Xi likes Leung. We all need to fall in line:
“I hope different sectors in the Hong Kong society can be closely united…and actively support Leung’s governance in accordance with law,” said Xi Jinping.
The problem is Hong Kong may need more than a ballad or a plea to support its Chief Executive. Just six weeks ago the approval rating of CY Leung reached a new record. Sadly it was a record low:
“In the monthly survey conducted by the Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies, Leung’s rating in January has dropped by 2.5 points to 46.4 points – a record low since he won the election in March last year.” (Source: The South China Morning Post)
Xi Jinping made his pronouncement yesterday in Beijing when Hong Kong’s appointed leader went to Beijing. This was Leung’s first meeting with the newly appointed President of China. Also in attendance were Zhang Dejiang, the designated next-in-charge of Hong Kong and Macau affairs. In a historic first, also in the meeting was Dr Fernando Chui Sai-on, the leader of Macau. Traditionally the President of China met Hong Kong and Macau’s leadership separately.
The support of Beijing’s man in Hong Kong is vital for Xi Jinping to achieve his dream. He sees a renaissance of China and that requires support from the two Special Administrative Regions. (Both Hong Kong and Macau have 50 year transition agreements where “one country, two systems” applies to their administration.)
So here we go. And yes, I did bother. It was Tammy Wynette. Come on Hong Kong! Sing Along! Stand By Your Man!
In Hong Kong on 7 February 2013 at 5:16 PM
From today’s media here in Hong Kong…
Leung asks the Hong Kong Economic Journal to retract article
Last week, the Hong Kong Economic Journal (HKEJ) published an article by columnist Joseph Lian Yi-zheng which suggested that Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying’s real problem was not his sincerity but his links to triads. The article touched a nerve within Leung, who had his lawyer send letters in Leung’s personal capacity to Lian and the newspaper demanding a retraction and an apology. The HKEJ published a statement today saying that the topics in the article concerned issues of public interest and that Lian only suggested the possibility of Leung having triad links but had never asserted it as fact. The Hong Kong Journalists’ Association has criticized Leung for attempting to scare journalists into silence.
Critics worry that money allocated to district councils might be used to buy favors
Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying’s policy address calls for allocating HK$1.8 billion to district councils for the completion of important district projects. Critics have alleged that the money may be used by pro-government councilors to gain community support by granting favors. However, Permanent Secretary for Home Affairs Raymond Young claims that the Home Affairs Department will have to secure LegCo’s approval for the allocations. He believes that LegCo will not approve money for projects that buy the support of communities.
Hu Chunhua says problems between Hong Kong and Guangdong are common
Yesterday, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying led a group of officials to Guangdong to pay a visit to newly appointed Guangdong Party Secretary Hu Chunhua. Leung expressed that recent changes in relations between Hong Kong and Guangdong have influenced the order of Hong Kong. He thanked Guangdong for its support over problems linked to parallel traders and mainland mothers who wish to have second children in Hong Kong. Hu said that problems in Hong Kong-Guangdong relations were common because both locations were under development.
In Hong Kong on 6 February 2013 at 3:00 PM
Flats or vegetables – why not both?
More properties are being considered for housing – from vegetable stalls to golf courses, the government is looking at every alternative.
Vegetable market must make way for housing
Yesterday, Secretary for Development Paul Chan Mo-po and Secretary for Transport and Housing Anthony Cheung Bing-leung visited the sites of a golf practice center and a wholesale vegetable market in Chang Sha Wan. They revealed that the government intended to develop public housing at the venues. On the same day, the Planning Department recommended that housing be built on a site that is currently being used by a school in Ngau Tau Kok. Up to 2,900 new units could be built at the two locations. Chan also said that the government was considering developing a sports field into a housing site.
Government considering opening new school network for cross-border students
Yesterday, Secretary for Education Eddie Ng Hak-kim said that the government was thinking about establishing a new school network to help absorb children who live in Shenzhen but study in Hong Kong. Ng said that cross-border students that could not be placed in schools in northern Hong Kong would first be placed in schools in other districts. The surplus would then be placed in schools in the new network. However, education groups have complained that children who attend the new system might be labeled negatively. Parents and schools have recommended that the address of each student be changed to match the place in which the student is studying.
Leung says free-to-air TV license problem is very complicated
Yesterday, the Civic Party met with Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying. Leung was reportedly asked when the government would issue new free-to-air TV licenses. Leung responded that the grounds for issuing new licenses were not very clear and that the license issue was very complicated. His words were out of sync with an earlier statement by Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development So Kam-leung, who said that the government would resolve the matter as soon as possible. One legislator said that Leung’s response demonstrated that the movement to issue new licenses is frozen.
In Hong Kong on 31 January 2013 at 3:26 PM
New members join one of the leading bodies of China’s Communist Party, baby formula makes news and LegCo debates if they liked Leung’s Policy address. Another day in Hong Kong’s newspapers!
Five new faces to join the CPPCC Standing Committee
Yesterday, the Standing Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) met in Beijing to discuss new members. According to current Standing Committee member Chan Wing-kee, former Chief Executive Donald Tsang and current CPPCC delegate Lew Mon-hung will not be delegates to the new CPPCC. Other notable omissions include Wang Guangya, Director of the State Council’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office and current CPPCC Second Vice-Chairman Liao Hui. However, sources from Beijing say that former Chief Secretary for Administration Henry Tang, Henderson Land Development Vice-Chairman Lee Ka-kit, Chairman of the Hong Kong Federation of Fujian Associations Lam Shu-chit, Phoenix Satellite Television Chairman Liu Changle, and Hospital Authority Chairman Anthony Wu will all be Standing Committee members.
Health official says government has a plan to ensure baby formula supply
Yesterday, several parents complained on TV about shortages of baby formula in Hong Kong due to excessive purchases by parallel traders. During the television program, Secretary for Food and Health Ko Wing-man said that the current situation is far from ideal and that the government was considering a round of measures to resolve the problem. These measures include listing baby formula as a reserve commodity and controlling exports of the product. The government might also ask baby formula suppliers to better screen business customers by asking them to respond to telephone inquiries and to verify delivery times. Retailers might also have to take part in a goods-reservation system. Ko said that these measures would be announced within three days.
Pro-establishment lawmakers push to defend Leung’s Policy Address
LegCo held the first day of a three-day meeting yesterday to discuss Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying’s Policy Address. Although the Policy Address has received low marks from the public in public opinion surveys, pro-establishment lawmakers still tried their hardest to protect Leung. The Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong said that the Policy Address was more activist than previous addresses. They praised the speech’s recommendations for supporting Hong Kong’s advantages and upcoming opportunities and for their ability to solve the problems of local citizens. Michael Tien, Deputy Chairman of the New People’s Party, praised Leung for his bravery and justice.
In Hong Kong on 18 January 2013 at 3:35 PM
Zhu Yunlai, the son of former Chinese premier Zhu Rongji
The son of China’s former Premier Zhu Rongji was named to the Financial Services Development Council, a government-established private body to foster Hong Kong’s role as a global financial services centre. That’s causing concern in local media. CY Leung is experiencing a post-policy boost to his popularity.
Legislators question new financial body’s setup as private company
The membership of the Financial Services Development Council, a new advisory body, was revealed yesterday. Several of the council members are mainlanders, the most prominent example of which is Zhu Yunlai, son of former Premier Zhu Rongji and current CEO of CICC, one of China’s largest investment banks. Qin Xiao, former head of China Merchants Group, is also a member along with Chen Shuang, CEO of Everbright Holdings. The council has been set up according to a private enterprise model as opposed to as a government body. This has concerned several legislators who fear that, as a non-governmental body, its members would not be subject to anti-bribery laws. Opponents worry that the council might be used by special interest groups to promote their causes and question the influence of the mainland over the body. Some academics say that the make-up of the council might help the body take advantage of opportunities on the mainland.
Leung proposes importing foreign labor
During his campaign for the office of Chief Executive, Leung Chun-ying never closed the door on the possibility that foreign labor would be imported. Yesterday, during a question and answer session, Leung expressed for the first time after his election his view that foreign construction workers might need to be brought to Hong Kong to build new housing units if local labor could not be found to do the job. He said that any move to import labor would have to ensure that the job prospects for local laborers would not be affected. Workers groups and some legislators have expressed their opposition to Leung’s suggestion.
Leung’s popularity increases after his Policy Address
Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying’s approval rating has risen following his Policy Address, recovering somewhat from the lows that accompanied his illegal structures controversy. According to a Hong Kong University poll of 1,021 citizens, 56.4 percent of respondents approved of Leung’s Policy Address overall. This was lower than the marks the public gave to the first policy addresses of Hong Kong’s two previous chief executives. Leung’s personal approval rating now stands at 52.2 percent, up 3.3 percentage points from his approval rating prior to the delivery of his policy address.
In Hong Kong on 17 January 2013 at 12:21 PM
Yesterday Hong Kong Chief Executive CY Leung gave his annual policy address. Core to that were announcements on housing and air quality. Of course critics and supporters fill today’s newspapers.
Ten measures to increase land for housing by 300 hectares
During his first Policy Address yesterday, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying announced measures that would mitigate Hong Kong’s dwindling supply of land by opening up 300 additional hectares for residential development by 2020. Under Leung’s plan, 128,000 new housing units would enter the market. According to a government statement, some new units could be pushed out onto the market within the next five years, and the plot ratio of some sites that are already under planning could be raised. This would increase the annual supply of flats beyond the original planned amount of 40,000. Leung also said that housing prices would be adjusted downward during his term. Nevertheless, in response to Leung’s speech, the second-hand property market has rallied. The reason for this rally was the lack of additional cooling measures on home resales in the Policy Address.
Old diesel vehicles to be forced off the streets
Yesterday, in his Policy Address, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying called for old diesel vehicles to be forced off Hong Kong’s streets between 2016 and 2019, a measure that is designed to improve air quality. Specifically, Leung called for a legislative allocation of HK$10 billion to subsidize the purchase of newer vehicles by drivers of pre-Euro III-standard diesel vehicles. The subsidy would cover 10 to 30 percent of the necessary replacement cost. Leung also called for increasing the number of landfills in Hong Kong and for building incinerators to mitigate the city’s solid waste disposal problem. A spokesman for Friends of the Earth criticized Leung for violating a pledge he made during his election campaign to not build more incinerators and for developing a solid waste plan that was full of holes.
Social welfare groups are unhappy with Leung’s anti-poverty measures
In his policy address, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying admitted that poverty was a problem in Hong Kong. However, he did not propose any new measures to alleviate poverty, disappointing several committees on poverty and social welfare groups. These groupings criticized Leung for making no promises to reduce the number of poor people in the next five years. They are also disappointed that Leung did not mention the wealth gap or indicate that the government would address the problem. Finally, they claim that the Policy Address of former Chief Executive Donald Tsang was better.
In Hong Kong on 10 January 2013 at 1:22 PM
While Victoria Harbour may be getting smaller due to land reclamation, it may finally get the stewardship it deserves. CY Leung is rumoured to be creating a responsible entity to look after what’s left. In other news our CEO survived impeachment – and an errant air conditioning explosions sent diners fleeing. Just another day in the Cantonese press of Hong Kong!
First motion to impeach a Chief Executive fails in LegCo
LegCo rejected a motion to impeach Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying yesterday. The motion only received support from the 27 pan-democrats, and it was strongly opposed by pro-establishment lawmakers. Chief Secretary for Administration Carrie Lam said that the time had come to resolve political problems, stop internal bickering, and give the government time to act. She said that this dispute was not necessary.
Explosion occurs at Ma On Shan restaurant
An explosion occurred at a Ma On Shan restaurant during lunchtime yesterday while an air conditioning service worker was adding coolant into the air conditioning system. Before the explosion, the worker suspected a leak in one of the coolant tanks but was unable to find its source. The explosion created a large fireball and blew out the windows of the restaurant. Over 200 diners fled the restaurant, and several people were seriously injured. The air conditioning service worker suffered burns on his arms, a restaurant waitress was hit on the head, and some children and seniors fell down as people trampled other people to flee the restaurant. In total, 21 people were injured.
Government may set up a harborfront management office
Although the Central harborfront reclamation is mostly complete, development on two pieces of reclaimed land has not yet begun due the failure of a public-private partnership deal that was supposed to lead to construction on the sites. According to a Sing Tao source, the government plans to set up a harborfront management office to address the problem and to ensure that Victoria Harbour has a world-class harborfront. It is rumored that Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying’s policy address will announce the formation of the office. The Harbourfront Commission will soon open a public consultation to gather opinions on the proposal.